Murali Vijay has expressed his confidence over his preparations for the series against South Africa claiming that he would want to stick and play his A game this time. He has also stated that everybody in the Team India’s dressing room is really looking forward to the first Test.
One day left for the much-anticipated series between India and South Africa as the top two Test teams fight for dominance in world cricket. South Africa's fast and bouncy pitches are known to be nightmarish for Indian batsmen, who have always struggled to get runs there.
India's Test opener Vijay, however, seemed ready this time ahead of the series that kicks off in Newlands tomorrow. Vijay has exhibited terrific form by scoring back-to-back centuries on his Test return in the Test series against Sri Lanka last November.
“I am preparing myself to be a little more open than how I was last time. I just want to go out there and whatever is thrown at me, I just want to play my A game and do well for my country. I just want to prepare myself and be in a confident state of mind, which I am at the moment, which is good for me and the team,” Vijay was quoted by BCCI.tv.
The series is considered as the real test for the Indian players who have enjoyed a successful home season last year, improving their rankings across all three formats. Ahead of the first Test, the team was involved in an intense net session as they tried to get mentally prepared.
The right-hander seemed happy with his preparations for the challenging conditions of South Africa and also revealed that the side got good wickets for practice which would them to use the conditions well.
“The practice sessions have been perfect for us so far. Everybody knows what they need to do. The individuals know what exactly are the areas they need to work on. Everybody in our dressing room is looking forward to the first day of play.
“We got some pretty good net sessions and some pretty good wickets as well. So, we are used to it. It is more of mind games than physical touch. You have to be mentally prepared to match conditions because in the match it will be entirely different from whatever you replicate outside. We will be up for it,” said Vijay.
The 33-year-old has played 53 Tests scoring 3700 runs at an average of 41.57 including 11 centuries and 15 half-centuries. He visited South Africa twice in his career but is yet to impress with the bat as he featured in three games for India scoring 176 runs.
“I have been here a couple of times. Once I got to play the Test match, it was pretty challenging as an opening batsman. As you know the bounce and seam movement in these conditions is something really exciting for openers to go out there and perform. It is difficult but at the same time, you learn a lot of things. If you have some X-factor in your game, you can use when you get into a situation like that next time,” said Vijay.
In Test cricket, a player is considered as a good batsman when he learns the art of leaving the good balls and pick the bad one for runs. In 2014, Vijay visited Australia and scored 482 runs at an average of 60.25 in four matches. In that series, Vijay showed how good he is in that art while facing Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc. However, the Indian opener feels that now the side needs to bring minor changes in their approach.
“You cannot have a set pattern. You cannot go into a Test match that you are going to leave so many balls. You also have to be in a frame of mind where you also have to score runs. If they bowl in good areas, then you have to try to counter and come out stronger. These are the things which will be critical for us to move forward.”
After the Cape Town Test, India and South Africa will head to Centurion for the second Test from January 13 while the third match of the series
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